MT. MORRIS — Chesaning hopes the third time is the charm tonight when it faces Mt. Morris for the Division 2 district championship.
The Indians, who have lost twice to Mt. Morris already this season, will get a one more shot at redemption tonight after sweeping Clio 25-19, 25-17, 34-32 Wednesday in the district semifinals. The Chesaning student section stormed the court in celebration after beating the Mustangs, who ended the Indians’ season in districts last year.
Chesaning, which began its district quest Monday by sweeping Flint Hamady, finally put down Clio for good in a marathon third set which was ended by a resounding kill by junior Karissa Ferry. Ferry finished with a team-high 13 kills and four blocks.
“Pride — the adrenaline was rushing and the hard work finally paid off,” Ferry said of her feelings after the win. “And I can’t be any happier than I am right now.”
Ferry said Chesaning kept its poise in the third, even after trailing 7-1 and 10-3. Chesaning went ahead 16-15 and then gutted out a 34-32 win and the match.
“We kept our heads up and communicated, worked as a team and then we got them,” Ferry said.
Chesaning improved to 15-18-4 heading into tonight’s 6 p.m. district championship match. Mt. Morris (35-23-8), which shocked 2018 state semifinalist Corunna in the first round Monday, swept Owosso in the late district semifinal, 25-17, 25-21, 25-12.
The Indians are seeking their first district since 2007 and third overall.
“It will be tough but we’re ready,” Ferry said. “We’ve got one more to go.”
Chesaning stepped up its game a few notches according to caoch Ron Poyer.
“We played a lot better than we did Monday night — all around,” he said. “We attacked well, we passed well. Serving? We made some mistakes there but the girls overcame that.”
Claire Greenfelder leveled 10 kills for Chesaning, while Sidnee Struck had six blocks. Liz Coon had 12 assists. Lilly Cooper had nine digs, while Lauren Schirle had seven digs and joined Jordyn Bishop with 10 service points.
Struck said it was an exhilerating win for the Indians.
“I don’t want to say it was mind-blowing because I definitely felt we could do it,” Struck said. “But I think it was super-crazy that we got here. We’ve worked really hard for it.”
OWOSSO FALLS IN NIGHTCAP
Owosso gave Mt. Morris a battle in the first set, taking a 9-7 lead on senior McKenna Sovis’ tip, but Mt. Morris tied it up 14-all on Meniel Middleton’s ace and the Panthers went on to sweep Owosso in the other district semifinal.
Freshman Kendall Ihm recorded nine kills and three blocks for Owosso (12-28-3), while Sovis had 14 assists. Senior Harper Newell had 11 digs. Brielle Sovis, another freshman, added two aces.
Owosso junior Reyn Tuttle suffered an ankle injury midway through the first set, but Owosso coach Stephen Fitzpatrick said sophomore Kate Easlick filled in well. She had three kills.
Fitzpatrick said Mt. Morris, as evidenced in Monday’s win over Corunna and Wednesday’s sweep of the Trojans, is peaking at the right time.
“We were playing a very tough opponent,” Ftzpatrick said. “Jim (Pender) is a fantastic coach for Mt. Morris and those ladies work hard … but I couldn’t have asked more from my girls. From the first time that we stepped on the floor to now, I couldn’t be more impressed with their progress.”
Fitzpatrick said Mt. Morris’ serving and passing games proved to be the difference.
“Mt. Morris serves very aggressively and they pass very well,” Fitzpatrick said. “Those are two keys that really keep them in every set. They did a fantastic job tonight with their serving and hats off to them.”
Newell said Tuttle’s injury in the first set altered Owosso’s game to some extent.
“It definitely affected the team — not in a bad way and not in a good way,” Newell said. “We missed her out there on the court, but we are very supportive of each other and we moved on and we got past it. She’s OK.”
Newell said Owosso played very well on defense.
“We went out there and got the job done,” Newell said. “I think offensively, it was just a little harder for us tonight. And I think Mt. Morris was just going at it.”
Sovis said the Trojans can be proud of the season and their progress as a team.
“There was definite improvement,” Sovis said. “In the first game, we couldn’t even pass the ball very well. Now we’re running the offense. It was huge.”
Mt. Morris coach Jim Pender said his team played a solid match.
“I thought our girls played composed,” Pender said. “Owosso pressed us a little in the first and second games. We were running fast and I’ve only got one senior. That’s how our record has been what it is. We have 23 losses but we’ve got 35 wins now. So we’ve played a lot of strong competition and that has kind of helped us play under duress.”
Pender said the Chesaning match tonight will also be a challenge.
“It’s tough to beat a team three times,” Pender said. “Chesaning is coming at us and they are going to put a lot of pressure on us. They have nothing to lose. We have something to lose.”
Division 2 District Semifinals at Mt. Morris
CHESANING def. CLIO
25-19, 25-17, 34-32
Kills: Chesaning — Karissa Ferry 13, Claire Greenfelder 10.
Assists: Chesaning — Liz Coon 12.
Blocks: Chesaning — Sidnee Struck 6, Karissa Ferry 4.
Digs: Chesaning — Lilly Cooper 9, Lauren Schirle 7.
Points: Chesaning — Jordyn Bishop 10, Lauren Schirle 10.
Records: Chesaning 15-18-4.
MT. MORRIS def. OWOSSO
25-17, 25-21, 25-21
Kills: Owosso— Kendall Ihm 9, Kate Easlick 3.
Assists: Owosso — McKenna Sovis 14.
Blocks: Owosso — Kendall Ihm 3.
Digs: Owosso — Harper Newell 11.
Aces: Owosso — Brielle Sovis 2.
Records: Owosso 12-28-3.